Expectations for American growth up

Expectations for economic growth in America have improved significantly, with panelists of the National Association of Business Economics (Nabe) becoming increasingly optimistic.

Industry demand increased for a sixth consecutive quarter during the final three months of last year. While 55% of survey panelists reporting rising demand, 12% reported falling demand.

One in five panelists are building business plans based on an outlook of 3-4% growth and 62% assumes real GDP growth of 2% to 3% this year.

Profit margins expanded for a sixth quarter in a row as 38% of panelists reported that margins rose at their firm, compared to 18% reporting declining profitability. (article continues below)

Employment continues to improve, with 34% of companies reporting larger workforces compared to 13% a year ago. The share of firms cutting jobs shrank, from an average of 13% over the past three quarters to 6%.

In addition, capital spending increased in the fourth quarter, along with expectations for future capital expenditure.

More than half of the respondents say some portion of their sales came from foreign-based operations, with 14% reporting more than half of their sales were from foreign sources.